Pork jowl muffins (or cupcakes?)

A few weeks ago, I told ya’ll about my latest favorite pig part: pork jowl. While doing some research for that post, I came across a recipe for Maple Glazed Pork Jowl Muffins.

I was so intrigued, I couldn’t resist trying them for myself last week.

Once, when I was visiting friends in Annapolis, Maryland, I happened upon a little stand that made doughnuts dipped in bacon bits. It was heaven, all salty and sweet, crunchy and soft at the same time. This recipe seemed to offer that same little slice of heaven.

“These muffins are sweet, savory, smoky, porky…a complete roll through the omnipotent tastes that make life here on earth something special. When you’re done eating one, you’ll start looking for the next one immediately,” the author promised.

The prep was easy enough, and the muffins did lovely things in the oven, turning all golden and rising majestically from the tins. But the glaze went on like frosting, giving them a cupcake-like quality. Which brings me to a very serious question: what is the difference between a cupcake and a muffin? These definitely blurred the line.

Reviews were mixed. The muffins were indeed savory and sweet at the same time, with bits of pork jowl mixed in the way one would expect to find chocolate chips or walnuts. They were a bit dense though, and I didn’t think the maple flavor in the glaze was pronounced enough. Not sure how to remedy that.

One friend liked them, but liked them less once she found out there was pork jowl in them. Chicky pronounced them ok, but thought there wasn’t enough jowl. I thought maybe they’d be better without the frosting, as a straight savory cornbread-type thing, perhaps as a compliment to chili.

For those of you who might want to try this experiment at home, here’s the recipe. Let me know your verdict, please!

 Smoked Pork Jowl Muffins with Maple Glaze
(from Group Recipes)
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c coarse cornmeal
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 c half and half
1/4 c plain yogurt
1/3 c butter, melted
1/4 c of finely grated mild cheddar
1/2 c pork jowl, 1/4″ dice (you can probably substitute thick-cut bacon)
confectioners sugar
maple syrup

– Preheat oven to 400 F.
– Cook the smoked pork jowl in a heavy skillet over a medium flame. When it’s crispy but still chewy remove it from the pan and drain on a paper towel.
– Sift together the flour, corn meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
– Add the sugar to the melted butter and stir to dissolve. Then add the egg, half and half, yogurt, and cheddar to the butter mixture. Stir to combine.
– Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
– Add the pork jowl and mix lightly. Don’t over mix.
– Spoon into muffin cups and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until a knife inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
–  While the muffins cook, mix up a glaze with confectioners sugar and maple syrup and once the muffins are warm but not hot drizzle them with the glaze.

3 thoughts on “Pork jowl muffins (or cupcakes?)

  1. Hi! I found your blog by doing a search for Pork Jowl recipes and I’m glad I found your attempt at making this recipe before trying it myself.

    I recently found some smoked pork jowl at a local supermarket and was intrigued enough to search for recipes to scout out something I’d like to try. I came across the same one you used and it does sound like it might be good.

    The glaze may need to be thinned out with milk. Maple syrup is a bit thick for a glaze consistency.

    As for the muffin vs. cupcake, I think a cupcake is a smaller version of cake, lighter and airy compared to a muffin which is more dense. A muffin to me is sort of a smaller and maybe lighter version of a quick-bread.

    • Thanks for stopping by Monique! I am a huge fan of smoked pork jowl… it add great flavor when simmered with beans or vegetables (like kale). The muffins were good, but I think you need to be sure to cut the jowl into very small pieces. Freezing it before cutting can make it easier to slice thinly.

  2. Sounds awesome! I have made something similar using pulled pork leftovers, not mixed into the batter but spooned on before baking so they are more of a stuffed muffin, and drizzle BBQ sauce over before going in the oven.

    I’ll have to try these. Did you try them again with out the glaze? I love the glaze idea but I can see how that could overwhelm the taste.

    I love daring and crazy recipes! Thanks for sharing. I need to do something like this more out of the ordinary for my little food blog. 🙂

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